Sara Fayyad Sara

PhD in Journalism

Before I came to Sheffield I earned an B.A in Journalism from Yarmouk University in Jordan in 2007. After that I worked for a year as a radio journalist were I did field reports and hosted a cultural program, in addition to producing and presenting news casts. I also worked as a researcher where I conducted studies on Jordanian media performance and freedom. In 2008 I moved to Syria after getting married , and I worked in Syria as a public relations officer, and for the last two years before coming to Sheffield I worked as a freelance correspondent for a radio station located in Dubai.

The reputation of the Journalism studies department at the University of Sheffield was one of the main reasons I chose Sheffield for my master studies. Furthermore, the department offered exactly the major I was looking for; I am interested in journalism, politics and the international aspects of the profession. An MA in International Political Communication seemed to encapsulate all that in one program.

Once of the most enjoyable thing about studying my subject at the University of Sheffield is seminars because students are divided into small groups and are given the chance to discuss issues related to the themes of the module, case studies and so on. Such discussions allow great interaction between students and gives insight into experiences and perspectives from students coming from different cultural backgrounds.

The most valuable aspects of my course is the academic content, the lecturers and the collection of students who come from different parts of the world making my experience here a truly international experience. At The University of Sheffield professors provide great comprehensive academic content in lectures, but also guide the students to suggested reading, and the students are required to search, write essays and make contributions to the lectures.

The university academics are excellent and so is its reputation, the University is a member in the Russell group (a group of leading research universities in UK) a degree from Sheffield will definitely make an excellent addition to your CV and professional life. But, the best thing about life here is the kindness of the people, whether staff at the university, professors or even local people who are welcoming, cooperative and very friendly. The level of support and guidance I get from the staff and faculty in my department is amazing. I have a daughter, and I can’t believe how understanding people are here, providing help and support when it comes to arrange timetables and academic stuff, or even by being kind enough to check how you are doing and if there is anything they can do to make your experience better. Also, people here are used to having international students so don’t worry if your English is not perfect when you first come because you will receive a lot of help with that.

In the future, I hope to complete my studies up to the doctoral level, or work in a strategic communication company were I will employ the research and analytical skills I learnt in my course, in addition I want to make use of the theoretical foundation I got from my studies to research the communication field, and provide strategic communication solutions, hopefully concerned with the Middle East. However, if I couldn’t move into that field right away, I would also enjoy a profession in journalism as a correspondent or a broadcast journalist.

The advice I would give to a prospective student coming to Sheffield is to have contact in advance with their course leaders, I did that before coming to Sheffield and it proved to be very beneficial. Also, be prepared for long walks in hilly landscape, and also prepare yourself for the weather, always carry an umbrella!

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